Introduction: Wi-Fi Controlled Pet Feeder
This feeder can be used for turtles, fish, hamsters and other animals. It won't cost you much to make.
Ms. Zoid and I recently rescued three amazing and surprisingly intelligent turtles. These guys have changed our lives and we do everything we can to enhance their lives. We love to travel, so I wanted a way to extend our travel time with a Turtle Feeder.
Most of the parts I was able to pick up for very little money, with the exception of the Wi-Fi plug. The Wi-Fi plug is not necessary, but added an interactive element to my project. We love to feed our pets and with the use of the Free Pet Cam we are able to view and feed remotely.
Let's get started.
- 1/8" Acrylicsheet
- 12 volt worm drive motor - 2 for $3.57 eBay LINK
- 2.1 X female adapter - $.78 each eBay LINK
- 12 volt power supply eBay LINK
- Wi-Fi enabled plug Eco Plug or basic timer Home Depot Link
- Clamps - To hold the feeder on your aquarium.
- 3 - 3mm screws and 2 - 3mm nuts - I purchased these from my local Ace Hardware store (I love that place).
- Laser - There are also online resources that will cut for you.
- Adobe Illustrator - yeah, a computer too.
- Case instructions from makercaseor use the plans I've included.
- Small screwdriver
- Acrylic glue
- About 2 hours
Step 1: Setting Up Your Feeder for Remote Use
I have my Free Turtle Camera pointed at the kids so that we can check on them while we are away. We can now watch the feeder work as we lay on the beach. This sure gives us security in knowing that they will not starve.
For this portion, you can just use a regular lamp timer. These usually run at the same time every day and are relatively inexpensive. I used a Wi-Fi enabled plug to power my turtle feeder because i love gadgets and I want to be able to control AND see them eat on my own time.
There are now several brands of Wi-Fi plugs on the market. I bought mine at our local Home Depot in the seasonal section. This plug enables me to switch the power on with a phone app. It also allows me to set a timer in case I don't have Wi-Fi or cellular connections.
Set up took just a couple of minutes. It involves making your home router connect with your Eco Plugs. All instructions are in the box and on the app itself.
Step 2: Building the Pet Feeder Box
I used a simple online box maker (link) and modified it slightly.
- Input your desired dimensions, material thickness and edge joints.
- Press the "Generate Case Plans" button.
- Now load into Adobe Illustrator and prepare your settings.
You could do all of that, or just download my plans (below).
- Turtle Feeder Box is the box the houses the motor.
- Turtle Feeder Hopper is the box that holds the turtle food.
I you purchase the same items that I did, this becomes a pretty simple project.
I modified the online plans that include the right sized holes for the motor and power supply. I also added wings to the base so that I could secure the feeder to our tank.
Now you are ready to cut your parts on a laser. If you don't happen to own a laser, check with local maker spaces or even your local library. There are businesses around the world that can cut this for you, as well.
Step 3: Assembling the Pet Feeder Box
Now that you have all of the parts, it's time to build.
I've already made sure that all of my pieces fit and that the holes for the motor line up.
I start by adding the four sides to the bottom. I support it with one hand while I bond the acrylic. I left the top unglued in case I need to make adjustments later on.
After gluing, I let the box set for about 24 hours before I add the rest of the components.
The hopper box is built the same way. I did not include a top cover, because it isn't really needed. Adding graphics also adds a bit of flare to your project. I left my turtle image on there for you to play with.
After your acrylic has bonded, it's time to add your motor and power supply.
- Slide the worm motor through the hole and bolt on with the 3mm screws and nuts.
- Place the female power adapter into the opposite hole and add a dab of E-6000 glue or similar bonding substance.
- Plug it in the see if it actually runs. Haha.
- Slip the hopper onto the drive rod and screw together.
Step 4: Time to Feed the Turtles
Now it's time to plug everything in. Your Wi-Fi plug is all set up to your router and you have downloaded the app, what's next?
- In the Wi-Fi plug app, name your device. I used "Turtle Feeder" as my button.
- Click the button and your hopper will now rotate. If you used the Worm Motor that I gave the link to, you will see that it rotates slowly and doesn't fling kibbles everywhere when it spins.
- Click the same button to turn the feeder off - It's that easy.
- You can set the timer to run the feeder at any time you like. The nice thing about this Wi-Fi timer is that you can set it for 1 minute. The older timers usually run for 15 minutes, so this is one advantage over the old models.
- You'll have happy pets and can now enjoy a few more days of vacation.